A4 Conference proceedings

Modern Slavery and Global Supply Chains: Agency and Psychological Distance

Publication Details
Authors: Simpson Dayna, Segrave Marie, Kach Andrew, Handfield Robert, Quarshie Anne, Moore Heather, Panas George
Publisher: Academy of Management
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Academy of Management annual meeting proceedings
Title of parent publication: Academy of Management Proceedings
Journal acronym: AOM
ISSN: 0065-0668
eISSN: 2151-6561
JUFO-Level of this publication: 0
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication


Corporate requirements for modern slavery-type risks in global supply
chains have gained increased attention in recent years. Limited
research however has sought to address the context-relevant implications
of the contractual mechanisms used to distribute and 'enforce' such
requirements. In particular, the socio-economic and cultural factors
that underpin and facilitate modern slavery, and how these inform
supplier and worker choices, have not been addressed by prior SCM
scholarship. Ensuring suppliers meet modern slavery requirements, in
ways that create legitimate change in the sub-tier environment, remains a
complex problem that remains unresolved. For modern slavery type
exploitation, the suppliers most at risk of violation exist in the
sub-tiers, and in operating environments culturally removed from
western-headquartered ideologies. We interviewed 36 executive level Purchasing Directors, from medium to large size firms with headquarters
in Australia, the US and Finland. We employed agency and construal level
theories to frame our analysis. Overall, several themes emerged
regarding the limitations of the principal-agent relationship to address
modern slavery risks at a supply chain scale, that reflect significant
social, hypothetical and spatial psychological distance between
principals, and agents. Importantly, our research drew out a range of
significant themes surrounding the conflicts purchasing executives face
when attempting to align western policy with complex global operating
conditions, and the actual workers they seek to support. Our study sheds
light on the challenges of agency theory and highlights the complexity
of operationalizing modern slavery type requirements in global supply

Last updated on 2020-11-11 at 14:18